The New Shul

Parshat Re’eh/Rosh Hodesh Elul

This week’s parashah, Re’eh, begins with the words “See, I place before you today a blessing and a curse.”  The S’fat Emet taught that those words apply to every moment of our lives. No matter where we are in our life’s journey, we are always standing at a crossroads, with a choice of paths before us. Life consists of one decision after another.

In most cases, those decisions are small, with only a handbreadth’s difference between one path and the other. But the choices that we make accumulate over the years, until we find ourselves miles away from where we would have been if we had taken other turns along the way.

This Shabbat is Rosh Hodesh Elul. It marks the beginning of the season of teshuvah or turning, which culminates in the Days of Awe. The challenge of getting our lives back on course can seem impossible to meet. Often, the distance between where we are and where we feel God meant for us to be seems so wide that we can never make our way back. So we are liable to give up and ignore the call to change.

But the S’fat Emet reminds us that we change our lives, not all at once, but one  decision at a time. At every crossroads, every moment of choice, we can substitute a blessing for a curse. And every time we do so, we come a little closer to being the person that God intended for us to be. Little by little, we went off course, and little by little, we return.

May the season of teshuvah be a time of blessing for all of us.

  • The New Shul’s Shabbat morning service is from 9 am to about 11:45 am.This Shabbat, August 27, the kiddush-lunch will be sponsored by Rabbi Robert and Debbie Eisen.
  • Join us for The New Shul’s twentieth anniversary weekend, September 9 – 11. Our guest teacher for the weekend will be Rabbi Ed Feinstein. You can find a full schedule of events here, plus links to register for the Friday night dinner and/or the Sunday reception. Reservations are due by August 28.
  • Weekday minyanim at The New Shul are on Sunday mornings at 9:30 am, and on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm. Kabbalat Shabbat is on Friday evenings at 6 pm at our rabbis’ home (please contact us for directions)
  • Information on our services for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur is available here.